I'll be honest when my kids ask me to pinpoint the first time they crawled, the first word they said, or any of their firsts I struggle to try and remember and I have *been known* to fudge the truth about my memory of their early years because well to be blunt…IT SUCKED. I remember nothing. I feel like their infancies are these huge periods of time where everything felt fuzzy. I was a miserable mother of babies. I felt anxious all the time, inept, inadequate and lived in a constant state of impending doom.
I think this fear is very much grounded in my own childhood living with a mother who second guessed everything and in doing so, had me forever feeling uncertain about my decisions. Could I be a good enough student, could I be a good enough professional, could I be a good enough wife an then of course, could I be a good enough mother?
I know this sounds so Freudian of me– blaming my mother for my own shortcomings— but I also think it has provided me with a framework for understanding how as parents we engender our kids with our own feelings and fears. And so when I because a mom– I was so cognizant of this fact– to the point almost of inertia.
Which is where my knight in shining armor my husband- swooped in and saved me…from myself. Although those early years of my kids are recollected via this gauzy film (you know the kind that Barbara Walters is BATHED IN whenever she does an interview) the images that are completely sharp and crystal clear are those of my husband who after working 14 hours seeing patients- would come home take off his tie, roll up his sleeves and literally just take over. And if you know my husband, who didn't have a kid till he was 43, (and I don't think ever held an infant until that age as well) seemed to wear fatherhood like a second skin. He was so comfortable and he smoothed out all my jagged parts and talked me off many a ledge when I felt like I just wasn't enough.
I worried about repeating those patterns so many mother-daughter and mother-son relationships suffer from-and throughout the past 15 years of being a parent my husband has been my sounding board, for every misstep, question, concern or just for the validation I need to know that I'm doing the best that I can. And today when I watched him give our son a big hug for no real reason at all–and all that love just enveloped me- all those memories (no not of me parenting my daughter but more so of my husband being my biggest champion and reiterating that I am a good mother despite my constant nagging doubts ) came flooding back.
I could never have gone 15 years without this man… who makes me a better person and mother everyday. Still hard to fathom that we will be celebrating our 18th year wedding anniversary this December!